The Queen made the Duke of Edinburgh the Lord High Admiral of the Navy today to mark his 90th birthday.
The monarch has held the office of the titular head of the Navy since 1964 but today gave it to her husband as he celebrated his milestone age.
Philip gave up his promising naval career to devote his life to royal duty and support his wife in her role as Sovereign.
The office of the Lord High Admiral dates from the 14th century.
The birthday gift from the Queen could be seen as a touching acknowledgement of the sacrifices the Duke has made for his wife.
Had he not become the Queen’s husband, some believe he would have been First Sea Lord, the professional head of the Royal Navy.
In a recent ITV interview to mark his 90th year, the royal was asked how he felt giving up his job as a Royal Navy officer.
‘I don’t know how difficult it was, it was naturally disappointing,’ he replied.
‘I had just been promoted to commander and the fact was that the most interesting part of my naval career was just starting.’
Philip joined the Navy after leaving school and in May 1939 enrolled at the Royal Naval College, in Dartmouth, where he was singled out as best cadet.
He rose rapidly through the ranks, earning promotion after promotion, but his life was to take a very different course.
The Duke’s flourishing naval career came to a premature end in 1951.
The health of his father-in-law George VI was deteriorating and Queen-in-waiting Princess Elizabeth was required to take on more royal responsibilities.
Philip stepped down from his active role in the forces to fulfil his duty as her consort.
His wife acceded to the throne within the year when the King died in February 1952.
He has spoken of his fascination with the sea, describing it as ‘an extraordinary master or mistress’.